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Long distance WALKING forums?

Old 09-11-07, 04:22 PM
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Long distance WALKING forums?

In order to save some money, my new living/educational situation has me walking 8 kms a day Mondays and Wednesdays and 4 kms a day Tuesdays and Thursdays, and possibly also 4 kms a day on some Fridays.

12 kms later, and I've got blisters on the bottom of my feet.

I need a long distance walking forum to pose the question on how to prevent this from happening. Do any of you happen to know of good long distance walking forums? I know there are people who do extremely long walks ... like 100 kms at a go. Surely they must talk about it somewhere.

But I figure if I solve this problem and keep all this walking up, walking a marathon next summer might not be such a far-fetched idea.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:51 PM
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In the wintertime I hang the bike up and put the mountaineering boots on, so I'm at least semi-qualified for this one.

1) Your feets gotta toughen up, and that's not always a fun process. Compare it to breaking in a Brooks: it's not a lot of fun, but you shouldn't bleed. Soreness is par for the course, but blisters/bleeding means you need to change something.

2)Shoes/boots matter. If you're using walking shoes as opposed to hiking boots your task is a bit easier, but you may still end up with several pairs before you get it sorted. Again to use the saddle analogy, most folks end up trying a bunch of different brands until they find their Brooks, or whatever.

3) Socks can be super critical. Cotton socks DO NOT work for long distance walking: they get wet and hold that moisture against the skin, which softens it and leads to blisters. CoolMax is probably your best bet for single socks. More comfort and less friction can be had by wearing a thin sock liner under a thicker sock for cushioning. My personal favorite is a thin CoolMax liner with a fairly thick SmartWool outer sock. My personal Brooks.

HTH!
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Old 09-11-07, 06:04 PM
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https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/index.php

Appalachian Trail thru hikers
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Old 09-11-07, 07:11 PM
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Specialty socks have proliferated over the past 20 yrs and socks for hiking are
worth looking at. Typically they will have a heavier cushiony sole and thin out
as they go above the walking surface. Not cheap but they may well make a
difference in addition to the shoes. Feet tend to swell with prolonged walking
so appropriate sizing should be kept in mind.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:26 PM
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Yes, I think I need to work on sock and shoe selection.

I have very narrow feet, and because I can't afford custom shoes, most of my shoes are the standard width, and thus a bit wide for me. I selected a pair which I thought would be comfortable, and were for the first 4 kms or so ... but the last 8 ... OUCH.

I also went with fuzzy synthetic socks (acrylic?) which I think now were a very bad choice. I walked 8 kms with those yesterday. This morning I wore a thin pair of wool hiking socks which were more comfortable, but the damage had already been done.

I've got to walk about 8 kms tomorrow ... and I'm going to be hobbling! I will go with wool socks again, and a better shoe selection. Hopefully that will help.

Last edited by Machka; 09-11-07 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoz View Post
https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/index.php

Appalachian Trail thru hikers
Heh, I was going to suggest the same.

12km per day isn't so bad. AT thru-hikers will do 20 miles per day in the woods with big backpacks, so I think in time you will have no trouble adapting. Smartwool socks are great, BTW, but not cheap.
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Old 09-11-07, 08:04 PM
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I've got a backpack too ... fortunately this year's textbooks aren't too bad for weight.

I think I've sort of leapt in at the deep end with this.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:10 PM
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If you gotta walk with blisters- moleskins!
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Old 09-11-07, 09:24 PM
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First of all, I imagine that since you are a long distance athlete you figured that you could go out the first day and "go the distance." Problem is, that while your heart, lungs and all your biking muscles are reading for that, your walking muscles, feet, joints, are not. You should start slow (although it's probably too late now. )

There are several companies that make walking shoes in widths, New Balance being one of them, Asics as well, I think. Running shoes are also a good choice for walking. Shoes should be purchased in at least a half size, possibly a whole size larger than your regular shoe size, to accommodate for swelling during exercise (plus I think they just make them slightly smaller).

Sorry I don't know of a walking forum, but I'm sure they are out there!
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Old 09-12-07, 05:41 AM
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How do you walk? Do you have any foot problems? Toe in or toe out?

Check out Superfeet or Sole insoles. Much better support for your feet than the factory insole. They last a long long time too.
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Old 09-12-07, 07:33 AM
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i'm a bit lost. do you have to walk because you are mixing with transit? can't lock the bike up? have other commitments that make cycling not work on those days?
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Old 09-12-07, 07:43 AM
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There are people who specialize in walking marathons (as opposed to running them). You might google for them. However, I expect they buy similar shoes as runners. I would look for a store that caters to runners to see about narrow width running shoes. If you have a loose fit shoe, you will have a hard time avoiding blisters on long walks.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoz View Post
How do you walk? Do you have any foot problems? Toe in or toe out?

Check out Superfeet or Sole insoles. Much better support for your feet than the factory insole. They last a long long time too.
Superfeet insoles are excellent, I've got a variety of them in my walking, running, cycling and cross-country skiing footwear. I had them in my Alpine and telemark ski boots, too, back when I used those.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:26 AM
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go to a good running / walking store and get your shoes fit. they'll figure out with you pronate, need support or not, toe in, toe out, etc.

adding insoles and such might only be helpful if you can't find shoes that fit properly to begin with.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bmike View Post
i'm a bit lost. do you have to walk because you are mixing with transit? can't lock the bike up? have other commitments that make cycling not work on those days?
Can't take the bike with me. Well, I could bring it with me, but I haven't got anywhere to keep it when I stay overnight in the city. I'm leading a rather complicated life just now.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Can't take the bike with me. Well, I could bring it with me, but I haven't got anywhere to keep it when I stay overnight in the city. I'm leading a rather complicated life just now.
folding bike.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:31 AM
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Hrm, 2.4 miles each way, that's what, 45-60 minutes? I can see doing it on a nice day, or even once a week for the exercise, but to me that's a LOT of time for a commute.

Is there really no public transportation option?

FWIW a single-speed Dahon Boardwalk is like $200. Either fold it up when you get there, or just slap a fat lock on it. Or, get a $10 yard sale / thrift store bike in that big ol' city you're walking to every day....
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Old 09-12-07, 10:42 AM
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The $10 "beater bike" option seems like a great potential substitute for walking.

But if you're sticking with walking, then my advice based on backpacking hundreds of miles during the last 40 years, and so far avoiding any appreciable blisters: Thin liner sock, medium-weight wool sock. This works with any shoes/boots I've ever worn. The liner sock lets your foot slip a bit against the wool sock without causing friction to your skin.

For now, make a little donut out of moleskin so that the blister is protected from pressure.

Nick
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Old 09-12-07, 11:15 AM
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I would look into a cheap bike with a good lock. Or maybe a pair of rollerblades?
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Old 09-12-07, 04:40 PM
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The walking portion is only a small part of my commute to the University. First, there is a 150+ km drive which takes me approx. 2 hours. Then I find parking wherever I can, where it is free, which is approx. 2 - 3 kms from the University, and somewhere near my accommodation for the night. Then I walk to the University for my first class. Then I walk back to my accommodation to check in (not allowed to check in early, and they don't like to hold it too late). Then I walk back to the University for my second class which finishes fairly late. Then I walk back to my accommodations for the night. That's my long day of walking.

The next morning, I walk to my classes, which start bright and early, but also finish relatively early. Then when my classes are finished, return to my car, and do the 150+ km drive to where I live. That's my short day of walking, and also the day I ride my bicycle when I get home.

And repeat for Wednesday & Thursday.

Yes, there is public transportation, and I will use it for half of my potential walk today because my feet are too sore to do the whole 8 kms. But I do need to do some walking because I have to stop along the way to pick up my supper etc. from a local grocery store.

As for a bicycle, folding, beater, or otherwise ... there's no room for it at my accommodations. At least ... not yet. This whole situation could change in the next week or two ... or it might continue for the next 10 weeks or so. I said this was complicated! I don't lead a conventional life.

And besides ... I actually like walking ... except when my feet are killing me. Plus, I figure this is a good way to keep in shape, rather than spending money on a fitness class or gym membership or whatever. I'm not overly sore or anything, but I do feel it in my calves and even my quads a little bit.

Today I opted to do the liner sock, wool sock, and better shoe combination and I think that will work.
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Old 09-12-07, 05:24 PM
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I just skimmed over the replies, but I don't think anyone mentioned this resource, but you might want to check out the Volksmarch/Volksports networks. It's sort of a walk touring network. I'd be surprised if they don't have footwear resources.
The URL for the American group is https://www.ava.org/
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Old 09-12-07, 05:54 PM
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+1 for getting more callouses and better shoes. When I was in university and before I started commuting by bicycle I'd walk a similar distance to school every day, sometimes twice and often go out during the night which is a similar distance again and I wore cheap sneakers without any arch support. You just get used to it. Many people who work a job on their feet all day walk a lot further in total, I guess just like cycling it can also be psychological.

If you miss cycling though, I'd recommend getting a cheap commuter, a good lock, and a bike rack for the car. If you keep cycling a little bit everyday it can really help on the long rides on your days off.
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Old 09-12-07, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
+1 for getting more callouses and better shoes. When I was in university and before I started commuting by bicycle I'd walk a similar distance to school every day, sometimes twice and often go out during the night which is a similar distance again and I wore cheap sneakers without any arch support. You just get used to it. Many people who work a job on their feet all day walk a lot further in total, I guess just like cycling it can also be psychological.

If you miss cycling though, I'd recommend getting a cheap commuter, a good lock, and a bike rack for the car. If you keep cycling a little bit everyday it can really help on the long rides on your days off.
For a year and a half (till this past April) I worked part-time at a job where I stood and walked ... that's probably why I was a bit surprised that my feet couldn't take the last couple days.

And (as odd as it may sound) I don't miss cycling at all. I'm only away from it for 2 days a week ... and at this time of year I start to take lots of days off the bicycle anyway to start cross-training with some other sport(s). I often wonder what I would do if I lived in an area where I could cycle year round ....... I'm not sure I'd like that.
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Old 09-12-07, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by larryfeltonj View Post
I just skimmed over the replies, but I don't think anyone mentioned this resource, but you might want to check out the Volksmarch/Volksports networks. It's sort of a walk touring network. I'd be surprised if they don't have footwear resources.
The URL for the American group is https://www.ava.org/
Ah yes ... I had them in the back of my mind, but couldn't remember the name! Thanks!
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Old 09-13-07, 10:14 AM
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The moleskin tape will help existing blisters. Duct tape can be substituted if moleskin is not handy. Put the moleskin or duct tape directly on the skin. Change the tape once a day.

Wearing a thin liner sock made from coolmax or polyester and an outer wool sock will help prevent blisters from forming. Two pairs of liner socks with two pairs wool socks will work for a long time provided you rinse them out in the evening. Superfeet insoles work very well, but I do not think they would prevent blisters.

The blisters are from friction between the foot and shoe insole. That's where having another (liner) sock helps to reduce that friction (the liner and wool sock rub against one another rather than the sock against the shoe insole). Liner socks also help wick moisture away from your feet. Moleskin or duct tape reduces friction between the foot and sock (it acts like a sock liner where applied). After some time, calluses build up and the liners don't have to be worn.

Keep your feet dry is the main concept. Wet skin is softer and blisters easier. Good luck, I've seen many boy scouts with blistered feet and they have all completely recovered!
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